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Judge rejects lawsuit of parents in cancer case



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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- A federal judge has rejected a lawsuit from the Sandy parents charged in 2003 with kidnapping and medical neglect for refusing chemotherapy treatments for their son.

In a 63-page ruling issued Monday, U.S. District Judge Ted Stewart said Daren and Barbara Jensen's federal constitutional rights were not violated by the actions of state authorities or medical personnel.

The Jensens sued two former University of Utah doctors, the former head of the Utah Division of Child and Family Services, a state social worker and an assistant Utah attorney general for instigating a juvenile court custody order.

The order sought to put then 12-year-old Parker Jensen into treatment for a rare, aggressive form of cancer known as Ewing's sarcoma. Authorities said they were operating in the best interests of the boy, whom they believed would die without treatment.

"We definitely consider this to be a win," said Joni Jones, an assistant Utah attorney general. "It's very important that the court agreed with us that the state employees did not violate the Jensen's federal rights when they put the issue before the juvenile judge."

Stewart's ruling however, doesn't close the matter. Stewart sent part of the lawsuit back to state court where it began in 2005.

"What we're going to do is ask the state judge to work us in for a trial as soon as possible," Karra Porter, an attorney for the Jensens said. "This ruling only effects federal law. Our key state law claims remain in place."

Among the issues are questions about how DCFS executed its policy related to a medical neglect allegation from the hospital and misrepresentations about Parker's diagnosis and whether all available medical tests were conducted.

In court last month, Porter said genetic tests would have shown Parker did not have Ewing's sarcoma and alleged doctors failed to commission genetics tests his parents requested because it would have diverted him from a clinical study.

Parker is now 17 years old and a senior at Jordan High School.

Porter said she plans to appeal Stewart's decision.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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Jennifer Dobner Writer

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